Home > Stronger together: Canadian standards for community-based youth substance abuse prevention.

Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. (2010) Stronger together: Canadian standards for community-based youth substance abuse prevention. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

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These Standards have been prepared to support the prevention efforts of all those considering or currently engaged in community-based prevention work. Communities play a key role in preventing substance abuse and promoting the health of community members. How various members of the community go about their business can affect youth health—either promoting or hindering it. Youth substance abuse prevention is a long-term process, but the potential rewards are great: fewer substance use problems occur among local youth, more youth experience positive development and quality of life in the community improves.

The Standards aim to support community prevention workers by providing them with:
• a benchmark of optimal performance for school teams;
• support and guidance to pursue continuous improvements; and
• practical resources and examples to support change.

These are standards of excellence that strive towards optimal substance abuse prevention initiatives in communities. This destination may be reached by building upon existing strengths within the community and current prevention initiatives. To begin this journey, the Standards serve as a roadmap to help communities reflect on where they are now, where they wish to go and what areas of program development will prove beneficial in their prevention efforts.

The Standards are divided into four sections. The first section provides an introduction to the Standards initiative and highlights the importance of addressing youth substance abuse in the community. The second section outlines the guiding concepts that form the foundation of the Standards and details each of the 18 Standards. The third section provides a workbook with options for a 20-minute self-assessment, an in-depth self-assessment or an external review by a National Review Panel to further strengthen an initiative. Additionally, the third section provides further information regarding how to build a logic model and further elaborates on monitoring and evaluation. Lastly, the fourth section includes appendices that contain further information on risk and protective factors, the theoretical framework for the Standards and the methods used in the development of the Standards. The Standards are based on the principle of continuous improvement and will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis, based on evidence and feedback from those who have implemented them.

The Standards address the life cycle of an initiative, which is divided across five phases:
• Assess the situation.
• Organize the team and build capacity.
• Plan a logical and sustainable initiative.
• Coordinate and implement evidence-based activities.
• Evaluate and revise the initiative accordingly.

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